Tennessee football might be heading to the Music City Bowl, and that’s not a great landing spot for the Vols compared to other potential bowls.
When you think of potential bowl games for SEC teams that are 7-5, you may think of the Music City Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Taxslayer Bowl, Belk Bowl, or the Texas Bowl.
All of those could be potential landing spots for Tennessee football, but it’s becoming more likely that the Vols are heading to the Music City Bowl.
As someone who lives about 30 minutes from Downtown Nashville, I’m not completely opposed to seeing the Vols play in Nashville again, but there are better options for the Vols.
Music City Bowl President and CEO Scott Ramsey was asked about Tennessee returning to Nashville to play its postseason bowl game there and he seemed excited about the possibility.
"“Obviously we would be very excited to have them,” Ramsey told Vols Wire of Tennessee. “I think it would be a good fit.”"
One thing some fans might not think of is where the Vols have played on the road this year and in recent years. No bowl game for the past two years and played Vanderbilt at home which gives Ramsey reason to believe the Vols should return to Nashville for a game.
"“I think every year is different,” Ramsey said. “In talking to the Tennessee folks and Phillip (Fulmer), sometimes when you are really close you want to make it the right year when you are there.“I know some of our counterparts have similar situations, sometimes it seems like it’s the right year and sometimes it works best if you go in a different direction, but this one certainly feels that if we have the opportunity then it will be really successful.Tennessee specifically, they did not play at Vanderbilt this year and no bowl game last year, so we feel like with a Monday afternoon game and a chance to really reach out and maximize the opportunity to the fans to participate in the program and the players to play in front of a full stadium, we think we have the right opportunity.”"
So you may wonder why I prefer the Vols to play somewhere other than the Music City Bowl. Well, based on the listed bowl games above, Tennessee could have multiple options depending on who offers a bowl bid to the Vols.
Bowl representatives have said in the past that they like hosting the Vols because unlike some SEC schools, Tennessee fans travel. I think that’s one of the best things Tennessee offers when it comes to bowl games or neutral site games.
Tennessee fans travel which leaves some bowls considering a 7-5 Tennessee team over a 7-5 Kentucky or a 7-5 Texas A&M team.
It’s looking like TAMU might head to the Texas Bowl, so you can cross that off of Tennessee’s list. LSU is going to the Playoff, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida are going to a New Year’s Six Bowl. Auburn will probably go to the Outback Bowl being the next best SEC team.
That leaves Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi State to fight for the Belk Bowl, Music City Bowl, Taxslayer Bowl, and maybe the Liberty Bowl if one of those teams decides to go there.
It looks like the opponent for the SEC team in the Music City Bowl will be Louisville and the opponent for the SEC team in the Belk Bowl will be Wake Forest. If I am Tennessee, I want to play a bowl game against a pretty big name that will help with recruiting this offseason.
A win over a Michigan or an 11-win Memphis or Virginia is much better than a win against Louisville, Wake Forest, or Pitt.
I would like to see Tennessee play a good team in their bowl game, and that’s why I prefer the Vols to venture out past Nashville.
Sure, an easy win could be beneficial in recruiting and continuing momentum into the offseason, but will it be as fun to beat Lousiville by 40 or beat in-state “rival” and 11-win Memphis by a touchdown in their own stadium.
My ideal bowl game for Tennessee would probably be the Taxslayer Bowl and see them play a pretty good Big 10 team, but if that doesn’t work out, then I have another scenario.
If Memphis loses the AAC Championship game against Cincinnati, then that means they won’t get to go to the big bowl game they were hoping for. That could also mean they could play in the Liberty Bowl if presented the right opponent.
What better opponent for Memphis than Tennessee. For some reason, Memphis is trying to play Tennessee more even though they’re inferior, so let’s give them that chance against a hot SEC team.
Who knows what will happen at this point. We will have to wait on all of the conference championship games to play out, and then the negotiations begin between schools and bowls.